It’s a movie, not a book or a stage play, so let’s think about it like that, not compare it to other presentations.
It’s also completely sung, not dialogue with songs, so that’s different from movie musicals too.
Songs sung direct to camera, at the audience or with the audience seemingly substituting for the direct object of the singing takes some getting used too, as it can break the viewer’s immersion in the story.
There’s a couple of non-graphic sex scenes, one of which is completely gratuitous.
I found it took a while to get drawn into the narrative, (see comment above about direct to camera) from it being a story being told, to empathising with the experience of the characters, but thanks to Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway that happens pretty early in the piece.
Most of the singing was very enjoyable.
But the main difference is that this is a musical in which the acting takes equal status with the singing, and the actors do that very well.
Hathaway is superb with limited screen time, Jackman is excellent and carries the movie, but I wished the vocal on Bring Him Home was a bit stronger, Crowe is expressive (and the hardest of the leads to get into characterwise, there’s only one brief comment that explains his character) without great vocal range, the lesser knowns and chorus support wonderfully well. Special mention for Samantha Barks as Eponine.
An engaging experience.
I’d say more, but I’ve got to go and watch The Hobbit.
And some people just cannot live in a world of grace.